Religion in Colombia
Most of the country’s population (about 95%) are Christians, mostly Catholics (90%). Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and adherents of local tribal beliefs also live in the country.
Transport in Colombia
Colombia can be reached by plane with transfers in Spain, France, Canada and the USA.
The main cities of Colombia, as well as the islands of San Andres and Providencia, are connected by a network of local airlines. San Andrés Island can also be reached by ship from Cartagena, but the trip will take several days.
There are highways along the Caribbean coast and in mountainous areas, but bus routes connect only large cities with suburbs.
In cities, it is better to use taxi services, and only licensed ones. Official fares are set for travel, which can be found with taxi drivers. There is a metro in the city of Medellin.
In order to rent a car, you must provide an international driver’s license, but tourists are not recommended to travel in rented cars.
Plant and Animal World in Colombia
On the Pacific coast of Colombia, mangroves stretch, and on the Caribbean coast – cereal savannahs. The arid peninsula of Guajira is home to low grasses, cacti and the mesquito tree. Light forests predominate in the valley of the Cauka River, thorny bushes, turf grasses and a low semi-deciduous forest prevail in the valley of the Magdalena River. On the plains of the north-east of the country, tall-grass savannahs of llanos stretch, and on the plains of the south-east – tropical rainforests of selvas with a predominance of broad-leaved trees, bamboo, coconut and elephant palms and several types of rubber plants. The temperate belt, which is located at altitudes from 1050 to 2000 m, is mainly occupied by dense mountain forests and coffee plantations. At altitudes above 2000 m, mountain forests give way to wet mountain meadows and paramos.
Monkeys, cougars, jaguars, peccaries, tapirs, armadillos, porcupines, sloths, opossums, snakes and lizards live on the plains, in the foothills and in the lower parts of the mountain slopes. In the rivers of Colombia, crocodiles, turtles and a variety of fish species are common, including predatory piranhas. Of the birds, there are parrots, toucans, storks, herons, cranes, and ducks, and in the highlands – condors, eagles, ospreys and buzzards.
Minerals in Colombia
Colombia has deposits of oil, coal, nickel ores, copper, lead, mercury, gold, silver, platinum and precious stones (mainly emeralds).
Banks in Colombia
Banks are open from Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 15:00. On the last business day of each month, banks close at 12:00.
Money in Colombia
The official currency of the country is the Colombian peso. 1 peso is equal to 100 centavos. In circulation there are banknotes of 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000 and 50000 pesos and coins of 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50 and 20 pesos.
Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, exchange offices and hotels, tourists are strongly advised not to exchange currency on the streets with private individuals. Most often, a tax is charged for the exchange. The easiest way to exchange US dollars. US dollars are accepted everywhere. Credit cards are accepted only in the capital of the country and in large cities and resort centers (you can also find ATMs here), and traveler’s checks are accepted as a means of payment only in large hotels. Traveler’s checks can be cashed at banks, exchange offices and hotels. To avoid additional exchange costs, it is recommended to bring traveler’s checks in US dollars.
Rate: 10000 Colombian Peso (COP) = 3.01 USD
Political State in Colombia
The official name of the country is the Republic of Colombia. According to politicsezine, the head of state is the president. He is elected by popular vote for a term of 4 years. The president is also the head of government, which exercises executive power. Legislative power is concentrated in the hands of the National Congress, which consists of two chambers – the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Administratively, Colombia is divided into 32 departments and 1 metropolitan area.
Population in Colombia
Most of the population of Colombia lives in mountainous areas, mainly mestizos (descendants from mixed marriages between Indians and whites, they include 57% of the Colombian population) and descendants of Europeans (20% of Colombians). On the plains of the Caribbean coast and in the valleys of the Cauca and Magdalena rivers, blacks (5% of Colombians), mulattos (descendants from mixed marriages between blacks and whites, 14% of Colombians) and sambos (descendants of blacks and Indians, 3% of Colombians) live. Native Indians account for about 1% of the country’s population, most of them live in the Amazon River Valley.
The official language of Colombia is Spanish, and different dialects of Spanish are spoken in different parts of the country. Some Indians still speak their native languages. In business circles, English is used as a second language, and English is also spoken in the Caribbean and Pacific islands belonging to Colombia.
Cuisine in Colombia
The basis of Colombian dishes is poultry, pork, potatoes, rice and legumes. Instead of bread, locals use arepas corn tortillas.
From the first courses, you should try the thick chicken soup with potatoes and yucca “ahiko”, the “mazamorro” of meat, vegetables, flour and beans and the chicken soup “sancocho de gallina”.
(beefsteak stewed with onions and tomatoes) and “konejo-gausado-con-coconut” (rabbit stewed with coconut). Various sauces are used in many dishes: ketchups, curry sauce, mayonnaise, as well as a kind of green avocado sauce and onion and fried tomato “ogao” sauce.
Colombian coastal towns offer a wide variety of seafood dishes, with lobster dishes being the most prominent.
The most common side dishes are legumes, rice, fried plantains, chili salad, spices and ahi vinegar, fried potatoes “papas” and fresh vegetable salads.
For dessert, you will be offered rice boiled in coconut milk “arros con coco”, “manjar blanco” (vanilla milk), a sweet dish of milk, sugar and eggs, with cinnamon “arequipe”, “natilla” (sweets with custard), “bunuelos” (cheese balls fried in vegetable oil), “ojuelas” (fried strips of fruit dough), maria luis pie, yucca panderos pie, pandeyuca cheese pie, panella (brown sugar), enucado yuca cheese tart, bocadillo (guava and other fruit paste), el carmelho fruit tart, tentacion bananas fried with sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, and a variety of fruits.
Of the soft drinks in Colombia, freshly squeezed fruit juices, chichas (a mixture of fruit juices with ice), sodas (lemonade), malta, colombiana (cream soda) and Colombian cola, which, in contrast from the North American drink, is made on the basis of natural products. Coffee is also very popular in the country, which since the end of the 19th century has been the main export of Colombia, tea “mate” and herbal drinks “aromaticas”.
Local alcoholic drinks are represented by rum, “aguardiente” (a local analogue of bread vodka), traditional Indian “chicha” from sugar cane, foamy drink “champus” from cereals and pineapple and beer varieties Dorado Club and Aguila.